The latest hurricane season 2015 predictions have Hurricane Joaquin’s path swerving away from the United States east coast to head northeast. While this is good news for the Florida hurricane season, experts believe that South Carolina’s flooding may be quite severe.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the U.S. Coast Guard said a cargo ship with 33 people aboard went missing in the Bermuda triangle after being caught up in Hurricane Joaquin’s path.
Earlier this afternoon, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Joaquin’s wind speeds strengthened again into a Category 4 storm. The tropical storm had dropped to a Category 3 on Friday, but the weather center upgraded Joaquin early Saturday afternoon based upon its maximum sustained winds of near 155 mph.
Fortunately, the hurricane force winds are centered around an area which is far northeast of the Bahamas. In addition, even the tropical storm winds do overlap with any of the major Caribbean islands at this time. But this condition will not last since Hurricane Joaquin’s track is expected to take it over or near Bermuda. The island is expected to have tropical storm conditions by Sunday morning, with hurricane conditions possible later in the day.
Otherwise, the five day forecast for Hurricane Joaquin is mostly good news for this 2015 hurricane season. By Monday afternoon, the U.S. National Hurricane Center expects the tropical cyclone to be north of Bermuda and east of Virginia as it continues its northward track. From then on, Hurricane Joaquin’s path is expected to veer almost directly northwest, and the storm should be out of harm’s way in the middle of the Atlantic by Wednesday. The storm will also gradually weaken over time as it encounters higher shear winds and cooler water.
Brian McNoldy of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science says the United States dodged the bullet with this category 4 hurricane.
“The U.S. dodged a bullet with this storm,” wrote McNoldy. “If a major hurricane had stalled over south Florida for 3 days, it’s hard to even imagine the outcome. Or if it followed Sandy’s path from three years ago, etc, etc. The prospect of a U.S. landfall was never presented as a certainty by anyone (I hope). There were times when the majority of model guidance as well as NHC indicated that the center could turn back west and hit the coast, but that should not be interpreted to mean that it was a sure thing.”
While Florida’s hurricane season has continued to be mild, it is not like Hurricane Joaquin has dropped off the radar. In South Carolina, flooding may become quite an issue since some areas are expected to see around 15 to 16 inches of water.
According to McNoldy, the heavy rains in South Carolina seen so far are not even being caused by Hurricane Joaquin yet.
“The forecast through the end of the weekend is not good either… the flooding that is already happening will get much worse,” he said. “Locations from South Carolina up to Maine are also experiencing coastal flooding due to onshore winds, but that is being caused by a mid-latitude storm system, not Joaquin.”
“This is not just any rain,” Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina said. “This is going to be the heaviest rain we have ever seen.”
According to KCCI, meteorologist Michael Guy says Americans living along the east coast should be watching for flash flood warnings.
“The magnitude of rainfall coupled with already-wet soil will bring about the threat of potential significant flooding impacting life and property,” Guy said. “There is also an increased threat of landslides and debris flows across the mountains and foothills of the Carolinas. Life-threatening rip currents, high surf, and coastal flooding, mainly at high tides, will stretch nearly the entire eastern U.S. coast.”
Based upon these hurricane season 2015 predictions, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Virginia have all declared states of emergency. In addition to Hurricane Joaquin, the 2015 hurricane season has now had 10 named storms, three hurricanes, and two major hurricanes.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]